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NASA Sustainability Base, NASA Ames Research Centre, California

Wednesday 25 Apr 2012

A little piece of heaven

NASA / Eric James 
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02/05/12 Sy Auerbach, F.A.I.A., Chevy Chase, Md.
Man, id this contrived: 1) the more you spread out a bldg., the more exposed surface it has; 2)the more exposed surface it has, the more energy is expended, 4) the more glass it has the lower the total insulation factor of the outside walls.
5) the more extranious steel "grid-sun-shield" is provided, the more energy has to be expended at the steel factory.
And for all this, the building is praised ! What is going on with our profession ?
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NASA Sustainability Base employs space exploration technology closer to home 

The newly completed design for the NASA Sustainability Base at the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California may be one of the most forward-thinking building projects in existence. Designed by  William McDonough + Partners with AECOM, the LEED Platinum facility blends highly technological green design with innovations originally devised for use in space exploration to form a working office that also showcases the intelligent technology developed by NASA.

Spreading over 50,000 sq ft, the lunar-shaped design was the product of a NASA-wide ‘Renovation by Replacement’ competition which invited each of its ten centers to present design concepts to make their buildings more eco-friendly. The Ames Research Center was selected the winner due to Associate Center Director for NASA Ames, Steve Zornetzer’s proposal to ‘take the closed-loop thinking that NASA uses in space exploration and apply it to a green building on Earth’.

NASA is well known for its space investigations but the organisation is also committed to developing solutions to the critical issues facing our planet. The engineers at NASA have spent decades designing environments which enable astronauts to work at their optimum efficiency, with peak functionality both mentally and physically. These same measures have now been applied to NASA’s Sustainability Base on Earth.

The facility welcomes its 210 employees into a central lobby which houses a large LCD display screen. This screen informs the building’s users how much energy the Sustainability Base is using and where this energy has been sourced from. These levels are kept to a minimum as high tech engineering means the building is designed to anticipate and react to changes in sunlight, temperature, wind and occupancy, and realign its energy usage accordingly.

An automatic shift in energy usage keeps the building’s carbon footprint to a minimum. The narrow dimensions of the volume also play a part in reducing energy demands as all occupants benefit from natural daylight which floods in through large glass panes. A water recovery system is also in place, derived from one originally designed for the International Space Station and a Bloom Energy Box uses fuel cell technology in a clean electrical-chemical process to produce onsite electricity.

AECOM completed the engineering on the NASA Sustainability Base project and was the architect of record. William McDonough + Partners was the design architect.

Key Facts

Status Completed
Value 0(m€)
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